Over the summer of 2015, Boy’s Latin Upper School history teacher Eric Whitehair took a trip to East Asia to expand his knowledge of the region’s culture and religion.
Mr. Whitehair flew into Bangkok where he stayed for a little before moving on to Cambodia. “My wife forbade my buddy and me from singing “Holiday in Cambodia” by the Dead Kennedy’s,” Mr. Whitehair stated in between chuckles. The Dead Kennady’s are an old punk group that Mr. Whitehair enjoys.
After he stayed in Cambodia for a few days, Whitehair and the group moved on to Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam. Whitehair loved taking in all the amazing culture of East Asia, and then it was time to move onto what he was truly there for.
“The whole point of this trip was Angkor Wat,” Whitehair explained. Angkor Wat is the world’s largest religious complex which was built in the 13th-century. Angkor Wat’s name means the temple that is a city, with it basically is.
Angkor Wat was not easy to get to each day. Whitehair had to hire a tuc-tuc driver (motorbike powered cart) to bus him in and out of the small town that they were staying in and into the jungle to get to the temple.
“The most amazing part is that the whole temple was carved by hand,” Whitehair said. It took over 100 years to finish building the city of a temple.
Angkor Wat is considered a safe and extremely sacred place to both religions of Buddhism and Hinduism. Mr. Whitehair was able to explore and study both cultures of these religions in one place.
While there, Whitehair paid respects and homage to many gods and prayed and visited many shrines. One god Whitehair paid homage to was Sheba, who is the goddess of death and destruction. “I was not trying to get on her bad side!” Whitehair joked.